One of the biggest driving factors behind my decision to go vegan and pursue holistic nutrition is my chronic menstrual cramps & PMS symptoms that consume and leave me bedridden every month. Having struggled with this for over a decade, and being tired of traditional doctors suggesting birth control or taking Advil every 4 hours to manage the pain, I’ve had enough. It’s time to stop suppressing the pain, and start listening to my body & get to the ROOT of the problem (pun intended)! This pain can’t possibly be “normal” despite how everyone seems to make it so. I thought, there has to be a body-friendly alternative that’ll curb the great discomfort that comes with Aunt Flo. Little did I know, GINGER is that alternative. A surprisingly effective one, too!
Being in quarantine, I decided to make good use of my extra time by enrolling in a holistic nutrition program that’s already changing my life for the better. I’ve even made a new best friend from it – ginger. So far, one of the main valuable takeaways from the class is that ginger can work as well if not better than Advil to alleviate excruciating menstrual cramps, without the dangerous side effects of acetaminophen!* Seriously – I thought I had tried absolutely EVERYTHING to manage this chronic pain… but somehow I must have overlooked the power of ginger. It is a wonderful anti-inflammatory herb/spice, so I’m not surprised.
A study found that even just an eighth of a teaspoon (of ginger) three times a day appeared to (alleviate menstrual cramps), dropping pain from an eight to a six and, in the second month, down to a three. What about the duration of pain? A quarter teaspoon of ground ginger three times a day not only dropped the severity of pain from a seven down to a five but also decreased the duration of total hours in pain from 19 hours down to about 15 hours, indicating that three quarters of a teaspoon of ginger a day for three days is a safe and effective way to produce pain relief in those with painful menstrual cramps. How does ginger compare with ibuprofen? An eighth of a teaspoon of ginger powder four times a day for three days versus 400 milligrams of Motrin were put to the test, and the ginger worked just as well!Dr. Michael Greger, author of How Not To Die & Founder of NutritionFacts.org
After learning this, I made it a point to incorporate more ginger into my diet, whether it be cooked into my meals, or enjoyed in a beverage. Let’s just say that an abundance of ginger root & powder is now a staple in my cooking… and it certainly paid off this month.
It’s important to look at everything as a whole when it comes to holistic health. So rather than doing things specifically just to “cure” my cramps, I knew I had to make lifestyle and dietary changes as well to reap the full benefits. With that said, when I say ginger can work as well if not better, I want to clarify that I am using ginger while practicing other healthy habits like eating lots of fruits & veggies, not having inflammatory foods like meat, dairy, and eggs, minimizing refined sugar intake, exercising everyday for at least 30 minutes, using non-toxic sanitary pads, and getting an average of 8 hours of sleep each night. I truly believe that this remedy works phenomenally in conjunction with everything else I’ve been doing to heal my body overall, and help her function optimally everyday even when we’re not menstruating!
Two weeks leading up to my period, I prepared my plant-based meals with lots of ginger, drank plenty of ginger tea, and learned to make a simple but satisfying healthy ginger ale. The result? *DRUMROLL*
May 2020 marks my very first month of very minimal cramping and PMS symptoms, and NO PILLS needed! This may not sound like a big deal to most, but it’s a MAJOR milestone for me & my body. Here’s to hoping this natural remedy will keep me pain-free (or at least very manageable) until I’m done with periods forever. Things are looking up though 🙂
Ginger ale is a great way to up your water intake while getting that zing in your body! Store-bought ginger ale either comes with loads of sugar or unhealthy sweeteners like aspartame though, so I recommend staying away from those.
To make your own healthy ginger ale at home, gather:
- sparkling water
- fresh ginger root, grated
- a squeeze of lemon or lime juice
For sparkling water, you can invest in a soda stream or buy bottled sparkling water of your choice. Grate an inch of ginger, and add it into the sparkling water. Squeeze some lemon or lime juice (to taste) and stir well. If you desire a bit of a sweeter taste, try adding some coconut sugar.